Professor Benedict Anderson is one of the world's foremost political scientists and a leading scholar in Southeast Asian area studies. As illustrated by the title of his collection of writings, "Language and Power", he applied his vigorous study and research to develop and advance a unique academic field that merges culture with politics. His intellectual influence is widely known throughout the world and transcending the disciplinary boundaries of social sciences and the humanities.
After obtaining his B.A. from Cambridge University in Classical Languages, Professor Anderson received his Ph.D. from Cornell University. His doctoral dissertation on the spirit of Indonesian revolution for independence and its transformation, was later published under the title of "Java in a Time of Revolution". He co-founded the journal "Indonesia" as a young man, and this has gone on to establish a reputation as the best interdisciplinary area studies journal on Indonesia.
While teaching at Cornell University for many years, Professor Anderson invested much energy into managing and developing Modern Indonesia Project and Southeast Asia Program as the University's research, education and publication organizations. These enterprises have established the University's position as a core international institution for Southeast Asian studies. By mastering such languages as Thai, Tagalog, and Indonesian, Professor Anderson became a pioneer in comparative area studies based on the premise of a fluency in the local languages of the research areas. As demonstrated by the conscientious attitude he explicitly maintained against the infringement of human rights by the Suharto regime, Professor Anderson is indeed an intellectual who translates his beliefs into action. Also an intellectually stimulating teacher, he has nurtured many scholars and educators of different nationalities.
The book "Imagined Community" has earned Professor Anderson an unparalleled international recognition, and it has been translated in 17 languages. In the book, he places the origin of nationalism into the context of world history and defines 'nation' as 'an imagined political community, merely representing an image in the mind'. The methodology of comparative history employed portrays how the connections and transformations of 'nation' takes place in various 'states' by merging with an extreme diversity of social, political and ideological constellations. Professor Anderson's analytical approach and insight is highly esteemed internationally as a breakthrough in the study of nationalism. With the end of the Cold War and rapidly progressing globalization, the concept of 'state' is now subject to reexamination. In this context, Professor Anderson's book, in which he applies a conscientious perspective to the reappraisal of the nation state, assumes an ever greater significance. His later critical discussions on nationalism were compiled as a book entitled "The Spectre of Comparisons".
Professor Anderson has made a tremendous contribution in both an academic and educational sense to Southeast Asian studies in general and Indonesian studies in particular. His significant achievements also include research into culture and politics and on nationalism. With these achievements, Professor Anderson, as the leading figure in these fields, richly deserves the Academic Prize of the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prizes.